Men can afford nearly four times as many homes in San Francisco as women, according to a new study

The study used Zillow home value data and census income data to determine what share of homes men and women working in the private sector with the region’s median income could afford. Zillow defined affordability as being able to spend 30% or less of one’s monthly income on a home’s mortgage payment, though its calculation also accounted for a 20% down payment and insurance costs.

In the private sector in San Francisco, women earn about 78 cents for every dollar a man makes, according to Zillow’s calculations. Women make about $60,700 on average according to the Zillow analysis, while men earn $78,100.

While the difference is stark, it’s less than the overall U.S. pay disparity: Women earn 73 cents to a man’s dollar nationwide according to the Zillow data, or $38,600 compared with $53,000.

In San Jose, though, the gender gap is even wider than in the U.S. overall — women earn only about 68 cents for every dollar a man makes, with a median income of about $61,800 compared with $91,500 for men. And the yawning gap between men’s and women’s income in San Jose contributes to an even wider disparity in home-buying capability.

Zillow estimates that women in San Jose earning their gender’s median income can afford only two-tenths of a percent of the metro area’s homes; men earning their median income can afford about 16 times as many homes, or 3.3% of the housing stock.

Nationwide, men can afford 18% more of the housing market on average than women, or 57.1% of homes compared with women’s 39.1%.

While the gender pay gap is shrinking — a recent Pew study found that women age 30 and under are slightly outearning young men in some major metro areas, like New York and D.C. — the Zillow study shows that the continued pay gap is affecting women’s wealth-building abilities, making it harder for them to purchase homes and other large investments at earlier ages.

The gap is wider for women of color, too: While white women earned 79 cents for every dollar earned by white men in 2020 according to census data, Black women earned 64 cents, and Hispanic women earned just 57 cents.

Susan Neilson (she/her) is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email:

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